How Can I Understand the Quran Better?

No matter if you were born a Muslim or you’ve just converted to Islam; understanding the Quran may be hard for you, because the Holy Quran, unlike any other books, is not classified in chronological or in subject order. You can see that in many cases Quranic stories are repeated in different chapters with slight differences. And when you start reading one chapter, you realize that the topic changes from one point to another. You may think that there are many sudden transitions in the Quran that make understanding it much harder for you, especially if you don’t know Arabic language and you use a translation. 



There are also some verses that have been revealed in specific contexts, and you may never understand the meaning or the wisdom behind that verse if you don’t know about the context. As well as translating the Quran into your language, using a dictionary, may not help you understand the whole concept of a verse or a chapter.



Here we are going to share some tips that you may find them useful in the way of understanding the holy Quran and therefore learning more from it. 

Quran, salamislam

Who Will Benefit from the Quran?


At the beginning of the Holy Quran, Allah mentions that this book about whose truth is no doubt will be a guide for pious people. [1] Those “who believe in the Unseen, maintain the prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them; and who believe in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you, and are certain of the Hereafter. And who believe in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you, and are certain of the Hereafter.” (2: 2-4)


Here, God is enumerating the characteristics of those for whom the Quran will be guidance. It means that if a person does not have the above characteristics, he should not expect to be guided by the Quran. Therefore, one of the steps of understanding the Quran is to discover and obey its basic rules and regulations. 


“Indeed this Quran guides to what is most upright, and gives the good news to the faithful who do righteous deeds that there is a great reward for them.” (17: 9)



Allah’s Guidelines in Understanding the Quran


Before finding solutions on how to understand the Quran, we need to find out the probable reasons for which the Quran is a hard book for us. As mentioned in the Quran, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) complains to Allah “O my Lord! Indeed my people consigned this Quran to oblivion.” (25: 30)


Hence, if one does not read at least a few verses of the Quran every day, he should not expect to comprehend its messages. However, for those who recite the Quran and are eager to grasp its insights, there are some instructions given by Allah. 

Quran, salamislam


1. Listen to the Quran carefully


“When the Quran is recited, listen to it and be silent, so you may receive [Allah’s] mercy.” (7: 204)


When you go to a classroom, and the teacher is describing something, you need to respect and adhere to the rules of the classroom. It is much more important to be polite and pious while we are being spoken to and taught by God. And as mentioned in the above verse, if we abide by the rules and be respectful, the real teacher of this world will start to teach us. Allah (SWT) promises in the Quran “Be wary of Allah and Allah will teach you, and Allah has knowledge of all things.” (2: 282) Allah enjoins his most faithful servants to ask Allah for knowledge. [2]


It is based on the same reason that Allah gives his pious servants knowledge and wisdom. “When he came of age, We gave him judgment and [sacred] knowledge, and thus do We reward the virtuous.” (12:22).



As you see in this verse, the requirement of gaining knowledge and wisdom from God is to be virtuous. Real knowledge and wisdom is not something that you can learn in any university or school or workshop. Wisdom is something given by God to His chosen people. And as mentioned at the beginning of this article, the chosen people who take the best benefits from the Quran are those who are pious, believe in the unseen, pray and give charity, and believe in all holy books. [3]



2. Read the Quran as much as you can


“…So recite as much of the Quran as is feasible...”  (73: 20)


More important than listening to the Quran, is reciting it. In the above verse, God recommends us twice in one verse to recite the Quran as much as possible. This shows that even if we do not understand the real meanings behind the verses, the miraculous characteristics of the Quran will influence us. One of these characteristics as mentioned in the Quran is that when a person recites the Quran God will “draw a hidden curtain between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter…” (17: 45- 46)



3. Think about the Quran While Reciting It


“Do they not contemplate the Quran?” (4:82)


Some people are very much concerned about reading a considerable number of verses every day. It is not condemnable as God Himself recommends us to do so. But let’s keep in mind that quality is sometimes more important than quantity. 


Since the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) gradually, some faithless people were complaining why the Quran is not revealed to him at once. Allah (SWT) replied the reason: “So it was, that We may strengthen your heart with it, and We have recited it [to you] in a measured tone.” (25: 32)


Therefore, if we want to understand the Quran comprehensively, we should recite it gently, so that we can contemplate its verses.

Quran, salamislam

What if you think and contemplate the Quran but still don’t understand it?


“… Ask the People of the Reminder if you do not know.” (21: 7)


God tells us to refer to people of wisdom and knowledge and ask them our questions if we cannot reach the answers by ourselves. With regards to Quranic questions, reading or listening to different interpretations of the Quran can be a great help. Different Quran interpreters have discovered different points about the meanings of Quranic verses.



The knowledge in interpretation of the Quran is limitless, and each commentator can find out some points about a verse, and there are still many points that have not been known. And it is one of the miraculous aspects of the Quran; that every individual may understand its points based on his/her conditions of time and place. That is why in Quranic interpretations there is always space for growth in understanding the meanings. Hence, do not stick to one interpretation and try to read and listen to different commentaries. Then you can compare them to each other, and at some points, with the help of Allah, you might find some new points about specific verses. 



What if We Don’t Know Arabic?


“We did not send any apostle except with the language of his people so that he might make [Our messages] clear to them.” (14:4)



This verse shows that there should be many different reasons for which the Quran was revealed in the Arabic language; the most important reason is that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent in a specific place and time and to people of a specific language. Perhaps it’s better for you to get familiar with Quranic Arabic which is not as hard as you think. Many of the words used in the Quran are repeated many times. This way you can start to memorize Quranic words that are most common, and gradually increase your knowledge of Quranic Arabic. 



There is no problem in reading the translation of the Quran, as well as it is not a required condition for being a Muslim. But believe it or not, the joy of understanding the Quran in its real language is so different from reading the translation. It is like watching movies, with subtitles. We may understand the main points, but the real feeling is not conveyed to us. 




In this article, we tried not to use any other sources other than the Quran itself to guide us in the way of understanding it. 

“We send down in the Quran that which is a cure and mercy for the faithful, and it increases the wrongdoers only in loss.” (17: 82)

Therefore, as you try and read and obey the orders of Allah as mentioned above, make sure that He will reward your eagerness in understanding it by teaching it to you in a miraculous way


[1] The Quran (2:1)
[2] The Quran (20: 114)
[3] The Quran (2:1)